President Thomas S. Monson was called to the quroum of the twelve apostles on October 4, 1963. President Monson is well known for his charity towards all men. President Monson is the kind of man who would prefer serving someone than push papers all day long. President Monson had significant leadership calling at a young age when many of that age are still trying to figure their way in life. He was a bishop at age 22, mission president, an apostle at 36.
Additional biographical information on Thomas S. Monson.
Kindness, Charity, And Love
Brethren, we do not honor the priesthood of God if we are not kind to others.
Brethren, let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home. I so pray in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, amen.
The Power of The Book of Mormon
We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety.
My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Principles And Promises
Brethren, may we care for our bodies and our minds by observing the principles set forth in the Word of Wisdom, a divinely provided plan. With all my heart and soul, I testify of the glorious blessings which await us as we do. That this may be so, I pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.
The Perfect Path To Happiness
Essential to the plan is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without His atoning sacrifice, all would be lost. It is not enough, however, merely to believe in Him and His mission. We need to work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve. We need to know God’s laws and live them. We need to receive His saving ordinances. Only by so doing will we obtain true, eternal happiness.
We are blessed to have the truth. We have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth, that we might merit all that the Father has for us. He does nothing save it be for our benefit. He has told us, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
Choices: May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.
The choices we make determine our destiny.
When we left our premortal existence and entered mortality, we brought with us the gift of agency. Our goal is to obtain celestial glory, and the choices we make will, in large part, determine whether or not we reach our goal.
Unlike Alice, we know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life leads to our destination in the next life.
May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals.
As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day—whether to make this choice or that choice—if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.
A Sacred Trust: This precious gift of priesthood power brings with it not only solemn responsibilities but also special blessings for ourselves and for others. May we, in whatever place we may find ourselves, always be worthy to call upon its power, for we never know when our need and our opportunity to do so may come.
We are the recipients of a sacred trust. Much is expected of us.
Ours is the responsibility to guard and protect that priesthood and to be worthy of all the glorious blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for us—and for others through us.
Wherever you go, your priesthood goes with you. Are you standing in holy places? Before you put yourself and your priesthood in jeopardy by venturing into places or participating in activities which are not worthy of you or of that priesthood, pause to consider the consequences. Remember who you are and what God expects you to become. You are a child of promise. You are a man of might. You are a son of God.
May we determine, here and now, ever to be prepared for our time of need, our time of service, our time of blessing.
As we now conclude this general priesthood session, I say to you that you “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). May we ever be worthy of these divine accolades, I pray with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, amen.
Be an Example and a Light: As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light in the lives of others.
Each of us came to earth having been given the Light of Christ. As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others.
The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean. In the world today there is a profusion of profanity with which we seem to be surrounded at nearly every turn.
Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other.**
I reiterate what we have been told repeatedly—that in order to gain and to keep the faith we need, it is essential that we read and study and ponder the scriptures. Communication with our Heavenly Father through prayer is vital. We cannot afford to neglect these things, for the adversary and his hosts are relentlessly seeking for a chink in our armor, a lapse in our faithfulness.
Brothers and sisters, purity will bring us peace of mind and will qualify us to receive the Savior’s promises. Said He, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
Those things which make us different from most of the world also provide us with that light and that spirit which will shine in an increasingly dark world.
It is often difficult to be different and to stand alone in a crowd. It is natural to fear what others might think or say. Comforting are the words of the psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.
Keep the Commandments: He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible.
God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey.
He understands that when we keep the commandments, our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear, and we will receive His promised blessings. But while He gives us laws and commandments, He also allows us to choose whether to accept them or to reject them. Our decisions in this regard will determine our destiny.
We know, however, that the adversary is committed to our failure. He and his hosts are relentless in their efforts to thwart our righteous desires. They represent a grave and constant threat to our eternal salvation unless we are also relentless in our determination and efforts to achieve our goal.**
The choices you make here and now are forever important.**
Disregard for the commandments has opened the way for what I consider to be the plagues of our day.
I plead with you to avoid anything that will deprive you of your happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come. With his deceptions and lies, the adversary will lead you down a slippery slope to your destruction if you allow him to do so. You will likely be on that slippery slope before you even realize that there is no way to stop. You have heard the messages of the adversary. He cunningly calls: Just this once won’t matter; everyone is doing it; don’t be old-fashioned; times have changed; it can’t hurt anyone; your life is yours to live. The adversary knows us, and he knows the temptations which will be difficult for us to ignore. How vital it is that we exercise constant vigilance in order to avoid giving in to such lies and temptations.
We cannot allow ourselves the slightest bit of leeway in dealing with sin. We cannot allow ourselves to believe that we can participate “just a little” in disobeying the commandments of God, for the sin can grab us with an iron hand from which it is excruciatingly painful to free ourselves. The addictions which can come from drugs, alcohol, pornography, and immorality are real and are nearly impossible to break without great struggle and much help.**
Love- the Essence of the Gospel: We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey.
We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. Likewise, we cannot fully love our fellowmen if we do not love God, the Father of us all. The Apostle John tells us, “This commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters. As we keep this truth in mind, loving all of God’s children will become easier.
Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day interactions one with another. All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond.
Every day of our lives we are given opportunities to show love and kindness to those around us. Said President Spencer W. Kimball: “We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all around us as our brothers and sisters.”
Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?” The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect.
Beyond comprehension, my brothers and sisters, is the love of God for us. Because of this love, He sent His Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life. As we come to understand this incomparable gift, our hearts will be filled with love for our Eternal Father, for our Savior, and for all mankind.***
Be Strong and of a Good Courage: Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle.
We live in a world where moral values have, in great measure, been tossed aside, where sin is flagrantly on display, and where temptations to stray from the strait and narrow path surround us. We are faced with persistent pressures and insidious influences tearing down what is decent and attempting to substitute the shallow philosophies and practices of a secular society.***
Because of these and other challenges, decisions are constantly before us which can determine our destiny. In order for us to make the correct decisions, courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right.
Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe. Will we have the courage to do so?
It is impossible to stand upright when one plants his roots in the shifting sands of popular opinion and approval.**
We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully but also as the determination to live decently.
Catastrophic conflicts come and go, but the war waged for the souls of men continues without abatement.
Ponder the Path of Thy Feet: As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father.
All of us commenced a wonderful and essential journey when we left the spirit world and entered this often-challenging stage called mortality. The primary purposes of our existence upon the earth are to obtain a body of flesh and bones, to gain experience that could come only through separation from our heavenly parents, and to see if we would keep the commandments.
When we came to the earth, we brought with us that great gift from God—even our agency. In thousands of ways we are privileged to choose for ourselves. Here we learn from the hard taskmaster of experience. We discern between good and evil. We differentiate as to the bitter and the sweet. We learn that decisions determine destiny.**
As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father to live with Him forever.
For example, Jesus walked the path of disappointment.
Jesus walked the path of temptation.
Jesus walked the path of pain.
We, with Jesus, can walk the path of obedience.
We, like Jesus, can walk the path of service.
Jesus walked the path of prayer.
As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives by learning His words, by following His teachings, and by walking in His path, He has promised to share with us the eternal life that He died to gain. There is no higher end than this, that we should choose to accept His discipline and become His disciples and do His work throughout our lives. Nothing else, no other choice we make, can make of us what He can.
Guided Safely Home: We look heavenward for that unfailing sense of direction, that we might chart and follow a wise and proper course.
We Never Walk Alone: You will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that He was always there beside you.
I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee: Our Heavenly Father … knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass.
True Shepherds: Home teaching answers many prayers and permits us to see the transformations which can take place in people’s lives.
Consider the Blessings: Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance.
See Others as They May Become: We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become.
As We Gather Once Again: Our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us and our needs. May we be filled with His Spirit as we partake of the proceedings of this conference.
The Race of Life: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life? No longer need these universal questions remain unanswered.
Believe, Obey, And Endure: Believe that remaining strong and faithful to the truths of the gospel is of utmost importance. I testify that it is! (General Young Women Meeting)
Willing And Worthy To Serve: Miracles are everywhere to be found when the priesthood is understood, its power is honored and used properly, and faith is exerted.
As We Close This Conference: May you ponder the truths you have heard, and may they help you to become even better than you were when conference began.
As We Meet Again: "It is my prayer that we may be filled with the Spirit of the Lord as we listen to the messages today and tomorrow and learn those things the Lord would have us know."
Dare To Stand Alone: "May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe."
Stand In Holy Places: "Communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life."
Until We Meet Again: May the spirit we have felt here be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day.
Priesthood Power: "May we be worthy recipients of the divine power of the priesthood we bear. May it bless our lives and may we use it to bless the lives of others."
The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World: "The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God."
The Three Rs Of Choice "Each of us has come to this earth with all the tools necessary to make correct choices."
The Divine Gift of Gratitude: "A grateful heart … comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives."
Charity Never Faileth: (Relief Society Meeting)"Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life."
What Have I Done For Someone Today: "The needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone."
Closing Remarks: "If we heed His words and live the commandments, we will survive this time of permissiveness and wickedness."
Be Your Best Self: Each must strive to learn his duty and then to do it to the best of his ability.
Be Of Good Cheer: "Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith."
Until We Meet Again: "May we long remember that which we have heard during this conference. . . . I urge you to study the messages and to ponder their teachings and then to apply them in your life."
Finding Joy in the Journey: Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family.
Watch a 1.5 minute video about this talk.
Looking Back and Moving Forward: "Together we shall move forward doing His work."
Abundantly Blessed: "Our testimonies have been strengthened. I believe we are all the more determined to live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Mrs. Patton—the Story Continues: "I am certain our Heavenly Father was mindful of her needs and wanted her to hear the comforting truths of the gospel."
I Know That My Redeemer Lives!: "Because our Savior died at Calvary, death has no hold upon any one of us."
How Firm a Foundation: "We can fortify our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth, so that we will not falter, we will not fail."
True To The Faith: "Let us resolve here and now to follow that straight path which leads home to the Father of us all."
The Prophet Joseph Smith: Teacher by Example: "May we incorporate into our own lives the divine principles which he so beautifully taught—by example—that we, ourselves, might live more completely the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Constant Truths for Changing Times: "We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families."
Choose You This Day: "The choices we make determine our destiny."
Your Personal Influence: "As we follow that Man of Galilee—even the Lord Jesus Christ—our personal influence will be felt for good wherever we are, whatever our callings."
The Bridge Builder: "Jesus Christ . . . has built the bridges over which we must cross if we are to reach our heavenly home."
Models to Follow:"All of us living in the world today need points of reference—even models to follow."
Hidden Wedges: "Let's not pass to future generations the grievances, the anger of our time. Let's remove any hidden wedges that can do nothing but destroy."
Now Is the Time: "May we live so that when that final summons is heard, we may have no serious regrets, no unfinished business."
Compassion: "We have no way of knowing when our privilege to extend a helping hand will unfold before us."
Dedication Day: "As an expression of our love for the Lord, could we not rededicate our lives and our homes in a like manner."
Your Eternal Home: "In a very real sense, we are builders of eternal houses. We are apprentices to the trade--not skilled craftsmen. We need divine help if we are to build successfully."
Becoming Our Best Selves: "When we [trust in the Lord], we will come to realize that we have been on His holy errand, that His divine purposes have been fulfilled, and that we have shared in that fulfillment."
Watch this short video clip of President Monson talking about Christmas.
Blessings Of The Temple: The temple provides purpose for our lives. It brings peace to our souls—not the peace provided by men but the peace promised by the Son of God when He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”